BLACK-EYED SUSAN | PURSE: $300,000 | 3-YEAR-OLD | FILLIES | 1 1/8TH-MILES
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber's In Lingerie ran down even-money favorite Mamma Kimbo and held off the late run of Disposablepleasure to capture Friday's Grade 2, $300,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico. With John Velazquez in the irons, the Empire Maker filly ran nine-furlongs in a pedestrian 1:52 to score her second straight graded victory.
In Lingerie didn't have an easy time in the Black-Eyed Susan, stumbling badly out of the gate and nearly going to her nose. The bay filly grabbed herself and came back bloody from her triumph, though trainer Todd Pletcher indicated in an post-race interview the injury to her right front foot looked worse than what it was. Click here for a photo of the injury tweeted after the race.
"She stumbled there, but she got a good position in the first turn," Velazquez explained. "I just wanted to get good position into the first turn, and we did and after that it was pretty easy for us."
"That was a big effort to run 1-2 like that. I'm pleasantly happy," Pletcher said. "We were pretty concerned at the start because one of the things Johnny and I talked about in the paddock was that she might have to make a wide sweep. It took her a little while to settle into stride and Johnny had no choice but to put her out pretty wide on the backside.
"I thought at the top of the stretch she was in pretty good shape, and she made a strong run in the stretch. I felt pretty comfortable coming to the sixteenth-pole. I think she made a big step forward to be one of the leaders of her division today.
Mamma Kimbo tried to wire the Black-Eyed Susan, setting the pace through fractions of :23 2/5, :47 1/5 and 1:12. Velazquez didn't push In Lingerie after her rocky start, letting her settle into stride as she made her way into midpack on the backstretch.
Glinda the Good and Welcome Guest had stalked Mamma Kimbo into the turn, but suddenly found plenty of company from Disposablepleasure to their inside while Wildcat's Smile and In Lingerie were swung widest of all rounding the turn. Those two couldn't keep pace as Wildcat's Smile and In Lingerie took off, and Mamma Kimbo also began backing up after finding herself in tight quarters in midstretch.
In Lingerie gained the lead and kept right on motoring to the wire. Disposablepleasure tried to dive through a hole on the rail, but Mamma Kimbo came in and the spot closed, forcing Javier Castellano to angle his gray mount out for her rally. She put in a game effort while running on the wrong lead, but could never catch her stablemate as In Lingerie crossed under the line 1 1/4 lengths clear.
"I thought she ran a huge race," Pletcher said of Disposablepleasure. "She kind of got squeezed a little bit at the top of the stretch, but she kept running and gave a real good account of herself. She ran more than a respectable race. She finally ran the way we expected her to all winter."
"I saved ground. I had a beautiful trip, but I had to wait at the quarter-pole," Castellano said. "I had to go around and lost momentum. I should have won the race. I had the best in there."
In Lingerie was sent off the near 4-1 third choice and paid $9.80, $5 and $4.80. Disposable ran well in defeat, 1 3/4 lengths better than Wildcat's Smile, who in turn had 4 1/2 lengths to spare on Mamma Kimbo. Glinda the Good and Welcome Guest followed next with Zucchini Flower, Plum and Oaks Lily completing the order of finish.
"It's a little far for her. She was trying, but it's just too far," said Mamma Kimbo's trainer, Bob Baffert. "She can get it with the right conditions. I knew it was a little bit beyond her limitations. She's a good filly and I'd like to keep her a little bit shorter."
In Lingerie was returning from a 55-day layoff in Friday's race, having last been seen romping by six lengths in the Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway Park. Originally scheduled to go in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks two weeks ago at Churchill Downs, the three-year-old filly's connections decided to give their lightly raced miss more time and tabbed the Black-Eyed Susan as a better spot for her to make her graded debut on dirt.
In Lingerie's only other dirt try came in an optional claimer at Gulfstream Park, where she finished second, beaten 4 1/2 lengths, to Grade 2-placed Zo Impressive. She had taken her maiden debut by 6 1/4 lengths at Turfway in mid-January. The Black-Eyed Susan improved her line to 4-3-1-0 and she's now banked $262,265 in lifetime earnings.
Bred in Kentucky by Colts Neck Stables, In Lingerie RNAed at $22,000 as a Keeneland September yearling but was privately purchased by her current connections following her stellar debut win. She is out of the Grade 2-winning Storm Cat mare Cat Chat and counts as her second dam 1993 champion juvenile filly Phone Chatter.
Other descendants of Phone Chatter include Grade 1 winner Dixie Chatter and the stakes-winning filly Rumor, who captured the Kalookan Queen Handicap at Santa Anita on New Year's Day.